Wednesday 18 January 2012

What Goes Around Cabaye Around

An apology first because I don't particularly agree with the title's "karma" philosophy, and especially in soccer. But nevertheless the title serves its function in bringing attention to some ungentlemanly and unsporting attitudes that some players in the English Premiership have, particularly when they themselves dish out nasty tackles to their fellow professionals.

The following incident occurred during the EPL match between Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers on Sunday 15 January 2012. The match finished 1—0.

Yohan Cabaye (black/white 4) is caught by QPR's Shaun Derry (red/white 4)

Referee Chris Foy immediately took out his yellow card to indicate to all the players on the pitch that he was taking action against QPR's Shaun Derry. However, although this strategy aims to prevent other players from rushing in to take matters into their own hands (which is a very good thing), it does not prevent an incensed Cabaye from getting up off the ground and pushing Derry in the back.
Referee Chris Foy already has his yellow card out
Cabaye (black/white) pushes Derry (red/white) from behind

Both players are committed to playing the ball

Looking at the replays and considering the lunging aspect of this challenge at the ball (it was not directed at the opponent), a yellow card was probably the correct decision. Chris Foy's position was not optimal* but he had enough information to know that QPR's Shaun Derry did not intentionally endanger the safety of his opponent but only threatened injury.

Notice also how sporting Derry is by admitting that he made a reckless challenge and going up to Cabaye to apologise.
Derry sportingly says sorry to Cabaye

Cabaye ignores Derry's concern and is furious as he is stretchered off

Newcastle coach Alan Pardew on the tackle that injured his midfielder Yohan Cabaye:
"I thought it was a bad tackle, challenge. It was one of those lines in between a yellow and a red. The Referee had a super game today, I thought. The decision was yellow, I'm fine with that but Yohan was really upset with it [the challenge]."

Yes, Yohan Cabaye was "really upset" (as described here in this news story, with further photos of Cabaye being furious at Derry).

Let's just recall two previously documented tackles that Cabaye dished out on fellow professionals that were clearly malicious and clearly red card offences.

In both these incidents, Cabaye escaped being sent off. He also did not apologise nor seemed concerned about the safety and welfare of his fellow professionals who he injured (e.g. Liverpool's Jay Spearing and Sunderland's Phil Bardsley).

It is understandable that Yohan Cabaye is "really upset" with Shaun Derry's challenge, which from observation did not appear to be malicious. Looking even deeper, Derry's challenge appeared totally accidental especially when compared with the apparent maliciousness of Cabaye's challenges on Spearing and Bardsley, which were dished out without any hint of concern offered by Cabaye for his opponents' well-being in the aftermath of the injuries (or post-match). Let's imagine how "really upset" Spearing and Bardsley were after being "studded" by Cabaye. Given this context, is it any wonder that only an attenuated amount of sympathy goes out to Cabaye?

Nobody should wish injury on to others, or should derive pleasure in the knowledge of injury on to others, so what did Cabaye feel when he made his horrendous challenges that endangered the safety and welfare of this opponents? Did he feel any sympathy to his opponents whose safety he had endangered? Did he show any concern or offer any apology to his fellow professionals?

Hypothetically. If the situation were reversed and Cabaye had injured Derry, would Cabaye be similarly sporting and apologise to Derry (as Derry was to Cabaye)? From Cabaye's past actions, there is evidence to believe that the answer would be negative.

* This was not Chris Foy's fault because QPR had just taken possession and Foy anticipated well by running upfield. However, QPR then lost possession which is why there was the challenge between Cabaye and Derry for the loose ball.

A Polished Performance

An example. In the 73' Chris Foy played an excellent advantage for Newcastle. The attacking opportunity eventually failed after Newcastle missed a couple of chances, but just look at the dedicated effort and keen awareness of Chris Foy (e.g. when compared with the dejected performance and lack of anticipation of Lee Probert). Here are the freeze frames:
As soon as QPR (red/white) regain possession, Chris Foy immediately wants to put himself in a good position for the next phase in play

It is likely that the Referee match assessor will have been pleased and impressed with Foy's dedication and commitment in this match. BTW, let's recall Stuart Attwell's extreme and "youthful" interpretation of anticipation (Attwell Anticipation All Right).

In general from what has been observed so far, Chris Foy has been performing consistently well in the Premiership this season. This is a welcome situation and hopefully helps to clear up the silly incident about a month ago when British Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy was mistaken for Chris Foy following the EPL match between Stoke and Spurs on 11 December 2011. Hoy revealed that he received lots of misguided vitriol from Spurs fans (whereas Foy received huge criticism from Spurs coach Harry Redknapp), who were naturally the aggrieved side.

1 comment:

  1. Cabaye played in Saturday's away match against Fulham, so his injury was not as bad as first feared.